How To Paraphrase in IELTS Exam

Paraphrasing is an essential skill in English. It means to express the same meaning by using different words. Students taking the IELTS exam need to know how to paraphrase.

Make sense yet? Don’t worry. We’re going to break it down for you.

When do we use paraphrasing?

We paraphrase all the time, and it’s a great way to show off your vocabulary and grammatical devices you’ve learnt. By paraphrasing a question that the IELTS examiner might give you, you’re demonstrating that you not only understand the context but can display an expansive and dynamic vocabulary, range and fluency, which are the marking criteria!

In the IELTS listening exercise, speakers may paraphrase themselves, or speaker B translates what speaker A said.

Essentially, you can successfully paraphrase by using different words that convey the same meaning (synonyms).

So let’s look at some examples…

To start paraphrasing, you need to successfully recognise synonyms as a display of your lexical range (vocabulary). The wider you’re vocab, the more words you have in your bank to use in the exam.

Can you try and match these words to their synonyms?

Study Learning
Happy Comprehension
Knowledge Misery
Sadness Unhurried
Slow Ecstatic

Now, we’ve looked at finding synonyms for words, which is a tool for paraphrasing. In the preparation stages, please use a dictionary or thesaurus. A thesaurus is a great tool to find synonyms and expand your vocabulary. Search the words above to find hundreds of new words to use.

So how do we paraphrase a sentence?

There are many different ways to say the same sentence in English. You can easily craft a high-level answer by simply changing the sentence structure or finding synonyms.

Let’s look at a sentence together…

The hotel buffet wasn’t open.

Can you think of another way to say this sentence? There are many ways, but using the method above, you can find synonyms for the words above to form a new sentence with the same meaning.

For example… The hotel restaurant wasn’t serving food.

We created the same meaning but paraphrased the sentence by changing ‘buffet’ into ‘restaurant’ and finding more synonyms and collocations for food. This is a high-level skill for the IELTS exam.

Paraphrasing the Question

It is a great practice to paraphrase the question you’ve been given in the IELTS exam. This shows the examiner that you have understood the question and the context. You are signposting that you will answer it by making your first sentence/response acknowledge the question they have asked.

For example:

IELTS Examiner: Do you think the internet has changed society in the last 20 years?

Student: Yes, I think the internet has significantly changed the world over the last two decades.

Remember to use your opinion too; when paraphrasing the question, don’t forget to answer the question. This is your introduction, and therefore you are setting the tone.

Research different synonyms, collocations and sentence structures to build a library for yourself.

Why stop there?

Use our Free eBook or Free 7-Day Course to start building your library of words to advance your level, or check out one of our Intensive Courses below to guarantee results.

If you need any help, please get in touch, and we’d be happy to help! If you would like some further practice or information on paraphrasing, check out British Council’s website for the Top 5 Paraphrasing Techniques.

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